Religion and State in Israel – November 10, 2008 (Section 1)

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Religion and State in Israel

November 10, 2008 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

Haredi wars in J’lem play into hands of only secular candidate

By Yair Ettinger November 10, 2008

The Gerrer Hasidic group has thrown its support behind secular candidate Nir Barkat. Though this does not guarantee Barkat victory, it eats away at the backing enjoyed by his rival, ultra-Orthodox candidate Meir Porush.

…In recent days, an unofficial message has been circulating in the Gerrer community to escalate the war of words against Porush and give a boost to Barkat, who is already leading in the polls.

The animosity stems from the Gerrers’ belief that Porush offended their rabbi when during his campaign, he drew up a secret plan that ousted them from their central position in the ultra-Orthodox education system. The sect represents the largest ultra-Orthodox stream in the country.

“We’re going all the way in the war for the rabbi’s honor, and we don’t care what the results are or what they think of us in the ultra-Orthodox public,” said one of its members.

Not such a close shave

By Shahar Ilan November 9, 2008

Porush’s rock. In the middle of Begin Road, the Jerusalem version of the Ayalon Highway, there is a large rock that should be dubbed “Porush’s rock.”

The rock blocks the third lane of the highway northbound. The candidate for mayor of Jerusalem, MK Meir Porush, is proud of this monument that conceals a burial cave whose destruction he prevented.

But he is not willing to take responsibility for removing a lane from the highway.

He says the rock was placed there by residents of the adjacent Beit Hakerem neighborhood, who fought against the highway.

Porush web sites

By Shahar Ilan November 9, 2008

Meir Porush has two Web sites.

The home page of the newer one has pictures of secular people who support Porush.

The older site opens with a list of the activities in which Porush has been engaged in the Knesset; among them, more severe punishment for missionaries, a draft bill to prohibit work on Shabbat in kibbutz stores and a draft bill to amend the Chametz Law.

Porush, Barkat vie for decisive national-religious vote in Jerusalem election

By Nadav Shragai November 10, 2008

Sources from the campaigns of the ultra-Orthodox Meir Porush and the secular Nir Barkat say the national-religious sector could swing the election in either man’s favor.

Makor Rishon, a newspaper affiliated with the national-religious right, recently published a letter written 54 years ago by Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Hacohen Kook, the head of Jerusalem’s Mercaz Harav Yeshiva, describing the scorn that Porush’s home movement Agudat Israel had for his father, the legendary rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook.

Nat’l-Religious Divided in Mayoral Race

By Hillel Fendel November 6, 2008

Rabbi Chaim Druckman announced on Thursday that he supports secular candidate Nir Barkat for mayor, but many others have signed a call in favor of hareidi candidate Meir Porush.

MK Zevulun Orlev, leader of the National Religious Party stated why he himself also plans to vote for Barkat:

“One of my considerations is the identity of Jerusalem’s Chief Rabbi,” Orlev said, referring to a post that has been vacant for years.

“Will Porush agree to have a Zionist chief rabbi or Zionist rabbis in the various neighborhoods?” Orlev asked.

Left, Right, Left, Right

Peggy Cidor November 6, 2008

“I don’t understand these people,” says former Meretz city councillor Anat Hoffman. “What does it matter what this candidate or the other thinks about the political status of Jerusalem?

How does that affect the situation on the ground?

We have a city to clean, young residents to keep here with affordable housing and jobs, an education system to turn into an attractive one, a culture department that urgently needs a director and additional funding, a city that has to become attractive for secular and Zionist residents, and a haredi takeover that must be stemmed – what does that have to do with Barkat’s opinions on the status of the Temple Mount?

Does he decide to build a new neighborhood in a crowded Arab area? Of course not!

“But he is honest, he means well, and he is the only one who can liberate this city from the haredi stronghold.

But these people act as if they are blind and deaf and will bring on us five more years of one of the most extremist sectarian mayors possible,” she concludes.

Jerusalem’s Mayoral Race Reflects the City’s Troubled Times

By Linda Gradstein November 10, 2008

“Jerusalem is in a pivotal place right now,” said Anat Hoffman, who recently resigned after 14 years on Jerusalem’s city council.

“Economically and culturally it’s sinking, and it’s become a place that Israelis from outside the city don’t even visit.”

…In the last election, 80 percent of all eligible ultra-Orthodox voters turned out, compared with 32 percent of all other voters. Porush hopes a similarly high ultra-Orthodox turnout will help him win.

Everyone thinks Jerusalem is lost

By Tom Segev Opinion November 10, 2008

[Former Mayor Teddy] Kollek built his relationship with the ultra-Orthodox on three principles.

First, he decided that the needs of the ultra-Orthodox population such as ritual baths (mikvehs), synagogues and religious schools are municipal needs in every way, meaning that the municipality must provide them, just as it provides services to the general population and the secular population in particular.

Kollek’s second principle was that there is no symmetry between the ultra-Orthodox and the secular.

Kollek learned the third principle from David Ben-Gurion: It’s easier to live with the ultra-Orthodox when they’re part of the coalition than when they’re sitting in opposition.

…But Lupolianski projects likable weakness; Porush gives off a sense of aggressive determination.

The situation in Jerusalem has been reversed, and now it is the many secular residents who fear for their lifestyle.

Porush has not managed to convince secular people that he will treat them as Kollek treated the ultra-Orthodox.

And so all that’s left is to envy those Jerusalemites who have already left the city.

Porush Explains – Another Look at the Recording

By Yechiel Spira November 4, 2008

YWN on Monday night took the time to listen to his original words again, as they were said in Yiddish, and it is clear that Porush stated that in the next 10 or 15 years, it will be difficult to find a “chareidi area without a chareidi mayor”.

Deri Working to Assist Porush Campaign

By Yechiel Spira November 5, 2008

Rabbi Aryeh Deri is working to enlist support for the mayoral campaign of Rabbi Meir Porush.

Deri intended to run in the Jerusalem mayoral race but the courts decided his ‘moral turpitude’ stain does not permit him from reentering the political arena at this time.

Deri is expected to use his expertise to assist Porush in dealing with the secular media, which Porush campaign officials believe are seeking to blemish the candidate.

It’s not up to them

By Nadav Shragai Opinion November 5, 2008

Porush’s Achilles heel is actually on his head: the kippa, and the beard.

Take these away and you get a candidate for whom many non-Orthodox Jerusalemites would vote.

But Porush, especially his worrisome words to an audience of Belz Hasidim (according to which most Israeli mayors will be Haredim in a few years), must convince residents that when he promises to be the mayor of everyone in the city he also means it, and that after the election we will not get an ultra-Orthodox mayor who is beholden to rabbis and to the Haredi parties.

A man for all sectors?

By Avirama Golan November 5, 2008

Interview with Meir Porush

“For several years now,” he says, “this has been the nature of our ties with the national religious public. One time they help us and another time we help them.”

How do you help them?

“What do you mean? After all, they are a public with needs. They need allocations of municipal land to build synagogues and institutes of study.

They want their people to be appointed to rabbinical positions – but not only them.”

Boyaner Rebbe Shlita: Vote Porush!

By Yechiel Spira November 10, 2008

The Rebbe’s proclamation joins the growing list of Admorim and Rabbonim Shlita, all instructing their constituents to vote for the only frum mayoral candidate, Rav Porush.

…Nevertheless, the streets of Geula and other frum areas are literally littered with anti-Porush flyers and billboards, seeking to persuade chareidim to boycott him at the polls. This despite calls from Degel and its gedolim as well as many other gedolei torah to vote Porush.

Haredi candidate to bow out of Tel Aviv mayoral race

By Yigal Hai November 6, 2008

The chairman of the United Religious Front list in the Tel Aviv municipal elections is expected to withdraw his candidacy for mayor.

Since Rabbi Naftali Lobert’s list, consisting of three Orthodox factions, is in the coalition with Mayor Ron Huldai, who is running for reelection, the withdrawal is expected to improve Huldai’s chances for win in the first round.

Ra’anana – battle on religious front November 9, 2008

The municipal election campaign in Ra’anana is shaping up as a battle between the religious and the non-religious camps, reports

The United Religious List says the Meretz party is running an anti-religious campaign which reached its nadir with an offensive Internet video clip, while Meretz says the religious faction plans to change the status quo of the city to make it more religiously stringent.

Knesset swears in first haredi woman

By Amnon Meranda November 4, 2008

“I am creating an important precedent as a woman born and raised in the ultra-Orthodox society who is entering the Knesset on behalf of Meretz, to promote the pluralist values of humanity and human rights – this is an incredible privilege for me.”

The new MK [Tzvia Greenfield] was somewhat apprehensive about the way in which other ultra-Orthodox members of the Knesset would react.

“I think it’s difficult for them to understand this and to understand me, though I haven’t spoken to everyone,” she said.

“If they respond with anger, it’s mostly because it’s difficult for them to believe that people can transcend their own sectarian boundaries.”

Who is a haredi?

By Tali Farkash November 7, 2008

The question of “Who is a haredi” once again occupies the ultra-Orthodox public these days.

The swearing-in of Tzvia Greenfield to the Knesset this week as Meretz’s sixth MK brought back to life an ancient debate.

The “Tzvia Phenomenon” (there’s no other way to put this,) has already baffled quite a few Israeli citizens, haredim and seculars alike.

The incomprehensible combination of a heretical agenda and a God-fearing haredi is hard to digest.

Religious right finally unites, over Jewish identity

By Nadav Shragai November 4, 2008

The main religious Zionist parties yesterday announced their merger into a new, unified party, after 27 years of infighting over diplomatic issues.

The new party will no longer espouse Greater Israel as its main cause, the founders said. Instead, it will focus on education and Jewish identity.

…It defines itself as religious Zionist and traditional, and will be open to both religious and secular.

The public committee includes [among others]…Rabbi Yuval Cherlow; Rabbi Haim Druckman; and Dr. Asher Cohen.

Court orders Egged to put up nixed political ad with women portraits

By Etgar Lefkovits November 10, 2008

The High Court of Justice on Monday ordered Israel’s largest bus company to immediately put up a political advertisement on the sides of Jerusalem city buses showing the portraits of women running for the city council.

The company responsible for advertising on Egged buses had refused to put up the ads of the women who are running in Tuesday’s municipal election on a joint religious-secular list called “Wake up Jerusalem-Yerushalmim” last month in order not to offend the religious sensitivities of the haredi public.

The bus company has previously said that it was unaware of the decision taken by its advertising agency.

Acting on a petition filed by the group of would-be city councilors, the court admonished both companies, and stressed that such an incident must not reoccur.

Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman on conversion and membership issues in the Jewish community November 5, 2008

Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman, Shalom Hartman Institute Co-Director, talks about conversion and membership issues in the Jewish community both in the past and today at a forum held for a new magazine, Havruta, produced by the Hartman Institute.

Former chief rabbi Lau appointed chairman of Yad Vashem Council

By Anshel Pfeffer November 10, 2008

The cabinet yesterday approved the appointment of former Ashkenazi chief rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau as chairman of the Council of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority.

Rav Lau to Address European Parliament

By Yechiel Spira November 5, 2008

Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau will address a special session of the European Parliament in Brussels addressing 70 years since Kristallnacht.

Rabbi Lau, a child survivor of the Holocaust, invited European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering to the event, requesting he address the alarming increase in hate crimes in Europe, the lack of tolerance and violence directed against foreigners in Europe.

A city of tolerance, not a Museum of Tolerance

By Gershon Baskin November 9, 2008

Wiesenthal Center Museum of Tolerance on top of the old Muslim cemetery in Mamilla in the heart of west Jerusalem

Many of the historical and Islamic interpretations and other “facts” presented by the Wiesenthal Center are at best contestable, but once again I want to emphasize that this is not a Muslim issue, it is not an Arab issue, it is not a Palestinian issue. In my view, this is a Jewish, an Israeli and a Jerusalemite issue.

I wrote then and I repeat it today: In my view this is not a legal issue – anything can be made legal.

This is a moral issue and an issue concerning the ability of people of the three faiths to live together in this land and in this city.

A center of hope and reason

By Rabbi Marvin Heir November 9, 2008

Rabbi Hier is the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and its Museum of Tolerance.

Muslim scholars and religious leaders have dealt with such issues for centuries, and in seeking to resolve such difficulties ruled that a cemetery not in use for 37 years is considered mundras – an abandoned cemetery that has lost its sanctity.

…While Judaism does not have a mundras concept, Halacha also dictates a sensitive and practical way to deal with such issues.

To suddenly demand that Jews be held to a higher standard than the Muslims hold for themselves is preposterous, dishonest and hypocritical.

God, the collaborative version

By Oded Yaron November 4, 2008

But the answer to the question “what is sublime” is precisely what Adler, director of the film “God and I,” is trying to discover: the God of each and every one of us – what we feel about him, whether we have felt his presence in our lives and whether we conduct a daily dialogue with him.

The work, which is not yet completed, is being produced in cooperation with Channel 8 and Flix on the Tapuz site, and is supposed to be “the first collaborative film in Israel,” as Adler termed it. Meanwhile, the material that has already been produced can be viewed at the film’s site on Flix.

It is also possible to participate in making the film by sending Adler a short video about your personal God.

Bringing the funk back to prayer

By Aimee Neistat November 10, 2008

Habayim Yesharesh-Wiener Minyan synagogue in Tel Aviv

Rabbi Gaddy Zerbib moved his family from France to Tel Aviv in order to serve as the synagogue’s rabbi.

Zerbib works for the synagogue on an entirely voluntary basis. For a living, he works as a scriptwriting teacher and script doctor at a film school near Gedera.

He intends to open a film school in Tel Aviv with some talented friends who are also teachers, where students will study Torah as well as the tools of filmmaking.

The rabbi is also a keen musician. He sings and plays the drums and keyboard. Some of his songs were played on Israeli radio about 10 years ago, and he has recently been working with his band, Salanters, on a project that’s due to be released soon.

His music is predominantly reggae and funk and his lyrics cover a mixture of biblical themes and Zerbib’s “own stuff.”

Monks arrested in J’lem church brawl

AP, November 9, 2008

No turning the other cheek here – Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks brawl at Church of Holy Sepulcher

Click here for VIDEO

Once again, monks come to blows at Church of Holy Sepulcher

AP, Haaretz November 10, 2008

Click here for VIDEO

Israeli police rushed into one of Christianity’s holiest churches Sunday and arrested two clergyman after an argument between monks erupted into a brawl next to the site of Jesus’ tomb.

The clash broke out between Armenian and Greek Orthodox monks in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, revered as the site of Jesus’ crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

…The feud revolves around a demand by the Greek Orthodox to post a monk inside the Edicule – the ancient structure built on what is believed to be the tomb of Jesus – during the Armenian procession.

Greek Orthodox and Armenian Christians Battle It Out Inside Church of Holy Sepulcher November 9, 2008

Click here for VIDEO

On Sunday Greek Orthodox and Armenian Christians clashed in a no-holds-barred brawl in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Israeli police were called to the scene to break up the fight as the clergy members punched, kicked and slammed religious artifacts on one another.

Religion and State in Israel

November 10, 2008 (Section 1) (continues in Section 2)

Editor – Joel Katz

Religion and State in Israel is not affiliated with any organization or movement.

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